Alumnus interview: Hadi Hosseinzadeh Khaligh

We are pleased to have Hadi Hosseinzadeh Khaligh as our next WINGSS alumni interviewee! We recently caught up with him to see what he's up to now and to hear what advice he has for grad students. Thanks Hadi!

Hadi Hosseinzadeh Khaligh

What graduate degrees did you do at UW? And when did you complete them?

MASc. (2013) and PhD (2016) in Electrical Engineering (Nanotechnology)

What was your undergrad program?

Materials Science and Engineering

Why did you choose UW for graduate school?

Family ties besides finding UW’s prestigious Nano program being the first in Canada and its state-of-the-art facilities.

What was your research focus in graduate school?

Studying silver nanowires as transparent conductive films and their integration in electronic devices.

What's a personal challenge you faced as a graduate student?

When you enter a new environment, with a different language and culture, it is always a challenge to find your way to leadership and being influential at first. However, it was very important for me to get involved in the university community and being of help in leadership roles. So, I went for it and was selected and served as the Chair of the GSA for the electrical engineering department for 2 consecutive years, as an example.

What's a career-related challenge you faced as a graduate student?

Once I faced an opportunity to teach an undergrad course. I initially found it intimidating, but I went for it. It ended up being one of the most satisfying experiences of my graduate studies. I learned a lot from the experience and ended up getting good course evaluations. This experience later won me the best TA award in Electrical engineering and the confidence to enter the 3MT competition.

What were some of the most influential memories you have from your time in grad school?

Competing in 3MT competition was one of the most influential experiences in grad school. Before then, I never thought about presenting my research to a non-academic audience. After winning first place in the departmental competition and getting extensive positive feedback as a university-level finalist, I realized the impact of my own work. This led me to the next level of my life after graduation and made a strong foundation for my post graduation pitches as a founder and CEO of a start-up.

What are you working on now?

I founded NanoCnet in 2016 with my friend, who is also UW PhD graduate, to commercialize a new generation of cost-effective silver nanomaterials for emerging flexible electronics applications. We took a fundamentally different approach to reduce the fabrication cost and increase the durability of silver nanomaterials compare with existing technologies.

What is your favourite thing about what you're working on now?

The favourite thing is that besides being involved in research and development of a new product, I am constantly meeting with influential people and CEOs of various tech companies. I learn a lot and gain business insight during these meetings and interactions.

Has your career path trajectory changed from what you expected while in grad school? If so, how?

Absolutely. Since I always loved teaching, my plan was to become a faculty member and stay in academia. However, after my graduation, while I was applying for faculty positions, I founded a start-up company to commercialize the essence of my research findings.

What advice do you have for current graduate students? 

Don’t be intimidated by challenges. No bird can learn flying if it never takes that first dive. Try to come out of your comfort zone and push yourself little by little. It is also very important to ask yourself what you really want to do after grad school and whether it really requires you to do grad studies.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I love spending time with my family and friends. These days I am very busy with all aspects of running a start-up company, however, my first priority is spending time with my family. But I also play soccer regularly as I have been doing for the past 20 years. In fact, our UW soccer tournaments were some of the most memorable moments of my grad life.